After failing to convince CFM International and International Aero Engines (IAE) to develop a new centerline powerplant for its proposed CSeries narrowbody jet, Bombardier has moved quickly to bring Pratt & Whitney Canada (P&WC) on board as a potential engine supplier.

"Obviously we now have to define a new centreline engine that will meet Bombardier's requirements," says Alain Bellemare, P&WC president. Over the next two months the companies will "drill down deeper and refine these requirements".


Talks with P&WC opened as soon as negotiations with IAE broke down in April, says Gary Scott, president of Bombardier's New Commercial Aircraft Program. "Sometimes you find out that the best partner was the girl next door," says Scott. The two Canadian aerospace suppliers have neighbouring manufacturing operations in Quebec.


P&WC says it has been working on a new engine in the 16,000-20,000lb thrust class for a long time, but has extended this up to 23,000lb to fit in with Bombardier's needs for the CSeries.

Bombardier plans to keep to its schedule of delivering the first CSeries jet "no later than 2010", says Scott. The company is entering a critical period to sign a definitive supplier deal with P&WC and to sign up enough orders to formally launch the aircraft this autumn, he says. "It will deliver a 15% cash operating cost advantage over current aircraft," says Scott.


In addition to unveiling P&WC as a potential supplier, the event marked the confirmation by Claude Bechard, Quebec Minister of Economic Development, that the Quebec Government was investing C$1.8 billion ($1.44bn) in the CSeries programme.


This breaks down into C$300 million in R&D funding, C$250 million to build a new final assembly line for the aircraft at Bombardier's Mirabel production operation and C$1.3 billion over 25 years to provide export financing for the aircraft.

Bechard stresses that the deal is "not a subsidy, it is a good arrangement for us". The return over the lifetime of the project for the government will total some C$310 million, he says.


Source: Flight Daily News